Provisions of H.R. 2142, GPRA
Modernization Act (GMA)
in Relation to Strategy Markup Language (StratML)
|GMA requires that each
strategic plan include: "a comprehensive mission statement covering the
and operations of the
While StratML Parts 1 & 2 include an element for Mission
statements, it is not intended for use as a "comprehensive statement of
functions and operations" nor does that seem to be the best use of the
concept of mission.
Instead, it might be better to specify other elements addressing the
concepts of "functions" and "operations" and perhaps to distinguish
them from the concepts of processes, programs, and projects.
StratML Part 2 enables the identification of Input_Processing and
Output_Processing as an attribute of PerformanceIndicator. It
will be interesting to learn how the concepts of operations and
functions differ from and are related to those concepts.
In Part 3, it may be appropriate to address the concepts of Program
defined in the StratML
|GMA requires that each
strategic plan include: "general goals and objectives, including
goals, for the major functions and
operations of the agency."
Goal and Objective elements are part of the StratML core and, through
the PerformanceIndicator element, objectives can be attributed as being
of the outcome type (as well as of the types output, input, input
processing, or output processing).
However, in Part 3 it may be appropriate to enable goals to be
associated with "functions" and "operations".
|GMA requires that each
strategic plan include "a description of the operational processes,
technology, and the human, capital,
information, and other resources required to achieve those goals and
In StratML Part 2, resources required to achieve objectives can be
identified as PerformanceIndicators of the Input type in the
ValueChainStage attribute. They can also be named and described.
requires "a description of how the agency is working with
to achieve its goals and
objectives as well as relevant Federal Government priority goals."
In StratML other agencies can be identified as stakeholders of the
performer type who are thus performance partners for each goal and/or
objective. Roles may be named and described. However, Parts
1 & 2 do not provide for distinguishing "priority" goals from other
The assumption has been that all
goals have been deemed worthy of
pursuit or they would not be included in the plan and that the best
measures of priority are: a) the PerformanceIndicators associated
with each objective in terms of money, FTE, and other inputs; and b)
the StartDate and EndDate associated with each objective.
However, in Part 3 it may be appropriate to include an element(s) or
attribute(s) enabling the identification of goals and objectives as
being of high priority (or not) or of varying degrees of priority
(e.g., high, medium, or low).
While such desginations may be meaningless without the allocation of
resources and the establishment of deadlines, they could provide a
useful means of evaluating the degrees to which agencies are living up
to their avowed priorities.
The Relationship element of StratML Part 2 can be used to relate agency
goals and objectives to governmentwide goals in the Federal plan, and
those relationships can be named and described.
|GMA requires "an
identification of those key factors external to
and beyond its control that could
significantly affect the achievement of the general goals and
StratML Parts 1 & 2 do not yet include elements for what are
commonly called Critical Success Factors (CSFs). It may be
appropriate to include an optional, repeatable element called
SuccessFactor with attributes for external/external &/or
In StratML, outcomes are distinguished from outputs based upon the need
for inputs and processing beyond the control of the planning
organization(s). Thus, this requirement could alternatively be
met for some factors by identifying the stakeholders who control the
necessary inputs and processes.
In StratML, inputs, outputs, processes, and outcomes are identified in
the Performance Indicator element, with an attribute for the Value
|GMA requires "a
description of the program evaluations used in
or revising general goals and
objectives, with a schedule for future program evaluations to be
StratML Parts 1 & 2 do not address the concept of "programs"
be appropriate to do so in Part 3.
It may also be
appropriate to specify an Evaluation element as a child of those
elements and reuse the Name, Description, Start Date, and End Date
elements as children of it. Perhaps there may be a commonly
accepted standard(s) for program evaluations, in which case StratML
could simply reference it(them).
For example, for the establishment of goals and objectives, two widely
recognized methodologies are SWOT & PEST. For the
evaluation of plans, SMART
is a methodology applied in project management. However, as far as we
are aware, no open, standard format (e.g., an XML schema) has been
specified for those methodologies.
|GMA requires OMB to
agencies to develop the Federal Government performance plan."
In StratML Part 3, it
may be appropriate to include an element(s) or
attribute(s) facilitating the automated aggregation of the
governmentwide plan from the information contained within the
individual agency plans, e.g., by leveraging a priority element or
attribute associated with each goal and objective.
|GMA says: "The Federal
Government performance plan shall ... identify the agencies,
regulations, tax expenditures,
policies, and other activities contributing to each Federal Government
performance goal during
the current fiscal year."
Each of those can be identified under existing elements in StratML
Parts 1 & 2. However, guidance will be needed on how best to
do so. For example, program activities can be documented as
Performance Indicators of the Input_Processing or Output_Processing
type. Tax expenditures can be documented as Performance
Indicators of the Input type, and policies and regulations can be
documented as being of the Output type.
The identification of tax expenditures could be facilitated if
non-profit charitable organizations were expected, if not required, to
document their strategic and performance plans and reports in StratML
format on their websites and to use the Relationship element to
the .gov goals and objectives they support.
Commercial organizations whose operations entail tax expenditures
(e.g., home financing firms) should be expected, if not required, to do
|GMA says: "The Federal
Government performance plan shall ... establish clearly defined
StratML Parts 1 & 2 do not address the concept of "milestones"
may be appropriate to do so in Part 3. The Name, Description,
Start Date, and End Date
elements could be reused as children of a new Milestone
element, as a
child of Objective.
|GMA says: "The Federal
Government performance plan shall ... identify major management
challenges that are
or crosscutting in nature
and describe plans to address such challenges, including relevant
performance indicators, and milestones"
StratML Parts 1 & 2 do not address the concept of "management
challenges" but it may be appropriate to do so in Part 3. The
Name and Description elements could be reused as children of a new
Management Challenges element and the Relationship element could be
used to associate each with its respective goals, performance
indicators, and milestones,
|GMA requires each agency
to make available on a public website a performance plan
covering each program
activity set forth in the budget.
StratML Parts 1 & 2 do not address the concept of "program
activities." In Part 3 it may be appropriate to include an
element enabling the identification of Programs.
The President's budget would provide the controlled vocabulary of
activities" that could be enforced in StratML applications used by U.S.
|GMA says that agency
performance plans shall include: "an identification of the agency
responsible for the
achievement of each
performance goal, who shall be known as goal leaders."
The Stakeholder element of StratML can be used to name and describe
goal leaders as stakeholders of the performer type.
performance plans shall: "establish a balanced set of performance
to be used
in measuring or assessing
progress toward each performance goal, including, as appropriate,
customer service, efficiency,
output, and outcome indicators."
StratML Parts 1 & 2 include a PerformanceIndicator element and
may be categorized as outputs or outcomes in the ValueChainStage
However, in Part 3 it may be
appropriate to include a more generic
element enabling the categorization of goals and objectives under
various taxonomies, such as the four aspects of the Federal Enterprise
Architecture (FEA) Performance Reference Model (PRM).
One of the categories in the PRM is "Customer
Results," which might be taken as equivalent to "customer
service." The other three categories in the PRM are Mission
Business Results, Processes
Activities, and Technology.
Each of those categories has a set of subcategories. So it may be
appropriate to include at least a three-layer hierarchy for
categorizations: 1) to name the categorization scheme, 2) for the top
layer of the hierarchy, and 3) for the bottom layer.
The U.S. federal Chief Architect aims to reengineer the FEA. So
now would be a good time to reconfigure the taxonomy of the PRM to
support the requirements of the GMA.
measures are defined in GMA as a ratio of inputs to outputs or
outcomes. See comment on 31 USC
1115(h)(4) below. It is not clear that they are part of a
categorization scheme, but if so, it may be appropriate to revise the
PRM to include such a category. If so, it might be logical to
include an effectiveness category as well.
|GMA says that agency
performance plans shall include: "a description of how the agency will
reliability of the data used to
measure progress towards its performance goals, including an
''(A) the means to be used to verify and validate
''(B) the sources for the data;
''(C) the level of accuracy required for the intended
use of the
''(D) any limitations to the data at the required level
''(E) how the agency will compensate for such
limitations if needed
to reach the required level of
StratML Parts 1 & 2 do not explicitly address these
concepts. The OtherInformation
element under the PerformanceIndicator
element could be used to document such information, but it
may be appropriate to include more explicit elements for these concepts
in Part 3.
|GMA requires agencies to
low-priority program activities based on
of their contribution to the
mission and goals of the agency and include an evidence-based
justification for designating a
program activity as low priority."
StratML Parts 1 & 2 do not address the concepts of "program
activities" or "evidence-based justification".
The concept of "activity" is addressed in Part 2 in the sense of
processes, via the Input_Processing and Output_Processing facets of the
In any event, the reference to low priority in this paragraph implies
the need to support at least two categories of priority -- high and
low. Consideration shoulld also be given to whether additional
categories such as "medium" &/or "undetermined" or "to be
determined" may be useful.
If more than two categories are supported, the issue will be whether
five or seven might be better than three, in order to enable more
precise delineation of priority.
If an "evidence-based justification" is merely a narrative, the
Description element of StratML Parts 1 & 2 could be reused for that
However, it may also be appropriate to support a taxonomy and perhaps a
controlled vocabulary(ies) of reasons for designating goals,
objectives, and "program activities" as being of realtively higher or
lower priority. If so, a general purpose set of elements for
naming categorization schemes and documenting the category could be
included in the schema for Part 3 without necessarily specifying the
|While expressing a
preference for objective, quantifiable, measurable performance
indicators, if such metrics are not feasible, GMA allows for the
description of "minimally effective" and "successful" programs.
In StratML, the Description element under Performance Indicator can be
used to provide such descriptions, but it may be appropriate to include
an attribute as well, with a controlled vocabulary of "ineffective,
minimally effective, or successful".
measure' means a ratio of a program activity's inputs (such as costs or
hours worked by employees) to its outputs (amount of products or
services delivered) or outcomes (the desired results of a program) ..."
In StratML, efficiency measures can be calculated by dividing the Actual
Result for inputs
Result for outputs
Since this is a value derived from other elements, it does not
necessarily require inclusion of another element in the StratML
schema. However, it may be appropriate to include one for
purposes of clarity and simplicity.
|GMA requires the Director
of OMB to "coordinate with agencies to
develop priority goals to improve the performance and management of the
See comments on priority
& automated aggregation above.
priority goals shall include: "outcome-oriented goals covering a
crosscutting policy areas."
In StratML Parts 1 & 2 outcome-oriented goals can be identified as
such through the ValueChainStage attribute associated with the
PerformanceIndicator element. The PerformanceIndicator element is
a child of Objective, which is in turn a child of Goal.
In Part 3, consideration should be given to whether to apply the
ValueChainStage attribute at the Goal level (in addition to the
Objective level). The thought has been that outcomes cannot be
realized with producing outputs, and since outputs are produced in
near-term, real-time, it is appropriate to associate them with
shorter-term Objectives rather than longer-term Goals.
Moreover, any information devived at the lower levels of a hierarchy
(e.g., Objectives) can be imputed upward to higher levels (e.g., Goals)
but the reverse is not true.
Thus, applying the ValueChainStage attribute at the Goal level may add
complexity that is not required to achieve the desired result. On
the other hand, attributes do not add a great deal of complexity to the
schema or forms in which they are rendered for user input. So it
may be appropriate to enable attribution of the ValueChainStage to
Goals as well as Objectives.
priority goals shall also include: "goals for management improvements
''(i) financial management;
''(ii) human capital management;
''(iii) information technology management;
''(iv) procurement and acquisition management; and
''(v) real property management."
These categories are analogous to the previous
Administration's lines of business (LOBs).
In the context of StratML Part 3, they might be treated as another
taxonomy by which goals and objectives can be categorized using a
generic set of elements for categorizations. See comment on categorizations above.
|GMA expressly requires
agencies to publish their strategic and performance plans and reports
in machine-readable format, like StratML
It also explicitly prohibits
them from incurring expenses to print such plans and reports for
distribution, except when providing such information to Congress.
While the Act does not explicitly state as much, it seems fair to
assume that: a) the expectation is that printing costs should be kept
to a minimum even when delivering plans and reports to Congress, and b)
priority should be placed upon the substance of the plans and reports
rather than the style of their presentation (e.g., glossy formats with
lots of graphics).
On the other hand, to the degree that presenting information in
attractive, eye-catching formats may be useful in many contexts,
publishing such plans and reports in StratML format will enable myriad
value-added intermediaries to address the market potentials assoicated
with such opportunities (while saving the taxpayers from bearing the
Presentation is explicitly not part of the StratML standard.